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AfterShock First Look: Cross to Bear #1

Comic Books

AfterShock First Look: Cross to Bear #1

Jack the Ripper was never caught because no one was looking for him in the Wild West…

Jack the Ripper was never caught because no one was looking for him in the Wild West…No one accept The Order. An organization made up of the descendants of Crusaders sworn to eradicate the unnatural, The Order will stop at nothing to fulfill the pledge their forefathers made, even if it means crossing the ocean or a line or two…

Cross to Bear #1

Writer: Marko Stojanović
Artist: Siniša Banović
Colorist: Dorde Krajinović w/ Aljoša Tomić
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Sinisa Banović
Incentive Cover: Tim Bradstreet
$4.99 / 32 pages / Color
Release Date: 10.13.2021

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Read more on the series from Stojanović below.


“The book is about Jack the Ripper fleeing to America in 1889 and heading straight to the Wild West – because his own savagery can avoid detection at the still savage frontier. He is, however, pursued by the Order made up from the descendants of Crusaders knights set on eradicating the unnatural – and what could be more unnatural than the first documented serial killer grabbing all the headlines and causing mass hysteria? Only thing is, these crusaders are far from their usual haunts and they`ll need help from a man who severed his ties with the other at the price of abandoning his own family…

The book deals with many themes – old world meeting the new one, family ties versus all the other ones, nature of power and fear, examination of extremism no matter how just the cause and of course, the danger of becoming a monster yourself as you do battle with monsters.

I am excited about it coming out because when I was a kid during the 80s in Yugoslavia, there was a special cult of the Westerns, which our dads and grandads used to call cowboy movies. True, we were not behind the iron curtain, unlike the neighboring countries, but from the movies that were shown on national TV, westerns came closest to what we call the action movie. And so when there was a Western on, it was a must. There was a whole ritual about watching it – all the male family members would gather around the still black and white box and share in the semi-mystical experience. Also, about 60 percent of all comics that came out in Yugoslavia at that time were westerns – regardless of whether they were American, Latin American or European, as we got an influx of comics from all sides of the world. Westerns were a big thing back then out here – the public couldn’t get enough! Seeing how I fell in love with the Western from an early age, is it really surprising that I am more than excited for the chance to bring my own take on that mythic genre – to the very country that gave birth to it? Part of the excitement also lies in the fact I got the chance to bring in my own creative team on this book, with my longtime collaborators Sinisa Banovic and Aljosa Tomic, which is not something that happens very often – so you certainly need to celebrate it when it does.”


“There are far too many to number here – but what`s more important, I think, is that they are all here, in this book. I approach writing every one of my scripts, be they for European, Asian or US audiences the same – I give it all I have. While I have an utmost respect for certain well know prose writers, I catch them saving ideas, plots and twists for the next contracted piece while writing the current one. It is easily discernible if you compare their late work with their early one, when they were trying to establish themselves and did not hold back. I treat every book like it`s my first, and all the inspiration, all the ideas come into the pot. Also, I wanted to avoid predictability – which is one of the hardest things nowadays, since we`ve all seen it all, read it all and therefore know where things are going all the time. Hopefully, I managed to do just that with Cross to Bear, at least to a certain extent… Readers can judge for themselves – and I hope they do, since that would mean they picked up the book to do so.”


“Uh, that`s a tough question – but the readers of Cross to Bear may figure out at least a part of the answer when they read the book, as there is a pretty big homage to one of the Westerns I`m going to name later on. As someone who was reared on the steady diet of Westerns, I naturally have quite a few favorite ones. With all due respect to the classic era of the Westerns, all the Ford`s, Hawks` and Wayne`s works, what formed me were revisionist westerns that had their day in the 60s and 70s. I love Peckinpah – Pat Garet and Billy the Kid is one of my favorites as well as The Wild Bunch. Outlaw Josey Wales is a gem of a movie. Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid is masterfully done on more levels than one and Willian Goldman is a personal hero, but, at the risk of alienating true purists, my all-time favorite must be Sergio Leone`s Once Upon a time in the West – though I`m quite partial to a Fistful of Dynamite too. It would be unfair not to mention Unforgiven and Tombstone, but also one of my guilty pleasures – The Young Guns 2. Why I love these Westerns – I guess most of them are just told really, really well. Being a writer, I like a good script, and most of these movies have great dialogues – but it`s the whole package that does it for me. These movies pack a punch!”


“The Cross to Bear series is the first western comic book I worked on, so I had fun studying characters and get used to drawing cowboy hats and other type of stuff we tend to see often. After the character design I’d turn the Marko’s script into thumbnail pages in order to set the basic shapes, and then I would work on interiors and exteriors. Sketching a plan for background ambients may not be a necessity, but I find it much easier to position the characters and viewpoint if I have the broader picture of where the protagonists are. After that I’m working on more detailed layout pages digitally, and then trace these drawings by pencil on paper using light pad. The process ends with inking, so I guess I’m a one third digital artist. It seems that layouts and initial sketches always possess more spontaneity than the final artwork, so I’m going for that kind of aesthetic in inking part.”


“I find the chiaroscuro technique most helpful and effective in establishing composition on a page and making the characters gain a three dimensional appearance. So, submerging the scene in dark areas also helps improving the atmosphere if it is a mystery or a horror genre. I also enjoy different stuff, such as drawing animals and cartoon-ish characters. It is a kind of relaxing from the more serious stuff, since I grew up on Franco Belgian comic books.”


“Sometimes in the script you can find a part where you can improvise, so you get a slightly different thing, but serves better for the storytelling. If I’d pick that moment, it would be on page 22, where 3 pictures in a row shows a character in 3 different actions, and at the same time we get to see the second character in front of him, using symmetry. It’s no big deal, but I love it when it happens spontaneously. And I’m pretty happy with how the main character’s library came out, it kind of stands out from the wild west setting in the episode.”

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